20.THE SLAYING OF JARASANDHA
When Jarasandha demanded the truth of them they said frankly: "We are your foes and seek instant combat. You can choose one of us at will to fight with you." After acquainting himself as to who they were, Jarasandha said: "Krishna, you are a cowherd and Arjuna is a mere boy. Bhima is famous for his physical strength. So, I wish to fight with him." Since Bhima was unarmed, Jarasandha chivalrously agreed to fight him without weapons. Bhima and Jarasandha were so equally matched in strength that they fought with each other continuously for thirteen days without taking rest or refreshments, while Krishna and Arjuna looked on in alternating hope and anxiety. On the fourteenth day, Jarasandha showed signs of exhaustion, and Krishna prompted Bhima that the time had come to make an end of him. At once Bhima lifted him and whirling him round and round a hundred times, dashed him to the earth and seizing his legs tore his body asunder into two halves. And Bhima roared in exultation. The two halves at once joined and Jarasandha, thus made whole, leapt up into vigorous life and again attacked Bhima. Bhima aghast at the sight, was at a loss what to do, when he saw Krishna pick up a straw, tear it into two, and cast the bits in opposite directions. Bhima took the hint, and when once again he tore Jarasandha asunder he threw the two portions in opposite directions, so that they could not come together and join. Thus did Jarasandha meet his end. The captive princes were released and Jarasandha's son was crowned King of Magadha. And Krishna, Bhima and Arjuna returned to Indraprastha. With Jarasandha gone, the way was now clear for the Rajasuya which the Pandavas performed with great pomp and splendor. Yudhishthira assumed the title of emperor. The celebrations were marred by only one incident. Towards the close of the festive celebrations, at the time of paying the first honor, Sisupala behaved disrespectfully in the assembly of princes and provoked a fight with Krishna in which he was slain. This story is told in the next chapter.